How Much Traffic Do Search Engines Refer?

THE LEADERS POST - Issue #55 - January 7, 2001

By: Doug Towes, Editor

About the Leaders Post

The Leaders Post is the newsletter for professionals committed
to Net Success - from, an online community of
professionals dedicated to providing excellent service to their
clients. If you prefer the online version, the current issue as
well as previous issues can be viewed by clicking
Internet Marketing Tips For Real Estate Agents

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sent in it's entirety.


- How Much Traffic Do Search Sites Refer?
- Bookmarks Are Not Necessarily Bookmarks
- What's Your Motivation?
- Real Estate Discussion at
- Tip Of The Day

Net Success

Many of us have enjoyed success because of the traffic we
receive from the major search engines. So when StatMarket
published the following a few
days ago many of us shook our heads in disbelief, especially
since other user measurement companies such as Media Metrix and
Nielsen//NetRatings have figures that are far higher.

"WebSideStory's StatMarket is reporting that search sites refer
only a small percentage of traffic to Web sites worldwide. As of
Dec. 17, 2000, search sites accounted for only 6.86% of global
referrals, according to StatMarket. "

Many of us know from our own experience that such a small
number does not reflect our own experiences - but how could they
have arrived at such a figure in the first place??

Others soon questioned the claim by pointing out...

- The statistics are gathered by measuring traffic to 200,000
sites that use WebSideStory's HitBox tracking service. These
sites include everything from large businesses, to hobbyists, to
porn sites.

- Only pages actually tagged with the HitBox tracker get
counted, which could have a big impact on the search engine
representation because many people only tag their home pages,
then search engine referrals to inside pages (which are common)
would be missed entirely.

- A recent Forrester Research study that determined that
81% of consumers find Web sites using search engines.

I did my own pondering on the subject and decided to do a
survey that is every bit as scientific and theirs - I asked the
major search engines how many pages containing the HitBox code
were actually included in their index. After all these would be
the pages that were sending those 6.8% of hits that the
StatMarket's Survey suggests is representative of reality.

The methodology: I searched the major search engines for the
phrase "BEGIN WEBSIDESTORY CODE" which is used on the pages with
HitBox trackers.

The results? Here are the number of pages the search engines
report are contained in their index with the HitBox counter code.
AltaVista - 140 pages
Excite - 195 pages
Fast/All The Web - 180 pages
MSN Search - 276 pages
Infoseek/ - 68 pages
Lycos - 112 pages
Northern Light - 150 pages

Well, that certainly explains why only 6.8% of visitors to web
sites using HitBox come from search engines, doesn't it?
Actually 6.8% is a very high number when you consider that my
survey found that only 0.138% of sites using HitBox are actually

Just one of the reasons why search engines do not report having
pages containing HitBox in their databases has to do with how
the HitBox code is used on sites using frames and on forwarded

In such cases the HitBox code is situated on the page the
searcher sees and not on the page the search engine sees - so a
hit to the site from a search engine is reported as coming from
a link or in some cases no referrer is reported.

Search engines are still the way most internet users find what

they are looking for and it is a good idea to make sure your
site places in the first couple of pages of results for keywords
searchers use to find real estate in your area!


Another issue which came from the same StatMarket Survey is the
subject of Bookmarks. When logging programs and surveys report
the number of hits coming from "Bookmarks" the first thought is
that the hit came as a result of the site being saved in the
visitor's Favorites List.

That is not necessarily the case. When a log program reports
that a hit came from a "Bookmark" it simply means that there was
no referrer reported - and that can happen for several reasons.
Eg. - from your "start up" page, reloads or refreshes, links from
jump menus, links from many directories you have registered your
URL with, links from certain advertising that you do on other
sites, people typing in your url , and several other reasons
where no referrer is reported.


RNC Internet Services at Websites for Realtors only
works with one real estate agent per market area for the House
and Home Real Estate Page Program and manually monitors
the web site's position in the major search engines and
resubmits as required every few weeks.

RNC Internet Services can do your search positioning for you as
long as you are not in the same market area as a current House
and Home Real Estate Page member.


By Lisa Hochanadel

We know that people buy based on emotion and defend what they
buy with logic. "But Mom I really need a new bike because my
tires are worn out" we said at 10 years old. What we really
wanted was the bike that Jane just got for her birthday.

Now we say "But I really need a Palm Pilot! My old day planner
is just worn out". What we really mean is that Fred just got
one and won't stop poking the stupid thing in our face every
time he uses it. At 10, or at 40, we want to keep up with, well,
you know. On the other hand, we may just want to shut Fred up!

People buy based on emotion in business as well - but the key

People in business act for two basic reasons. The first is
promise of gain. The second is fear of loss. The question is,
are you meeting their needs? And these needs determine whether
a customer will buy or not buy. Let's look at each one and see
how they can help us succeed.


The need for gain can take on many different forms. We can help
people earn more money or gain more knowledge. On the Net, we
are often selling something. Examine what you are selling.

What's in it for them? THAT'S WHAT THEY CARE ABOUT! Let them
know that they will get what they want by doing business with
you. Have customers give you feedback on why they bought.

Have friends give you feedback on why they wouldn't buy. Take
this information and ask the questions that so few ask. Where
did I miss it? How can I better convince them that they will
benefit from my offer? Do that week in and week out and in no
time you'll have a site that sells like crazy.


People want to know it's been done before. Few will risk their
time and money without knowing that what they hope will happen
for them has happened for others. Your job is to both challenge
them and comfort them. They need to hear from you that they
won't lose out by doing what you want them to do. Examine
yourself to make sure that in addition to encouraging people
to act you let them know they won't be hurt by their action.

The Net is a great place to do business. When we were selling
face to face (or even on the phone) we could use facial
expressions and tone of voice to make our point. Now most of our
business is
done through words. Be sure that the words you choose communicate
that they will gain, they will not lose. Do that and you build
relationships that will pay you handsomely for years to come.

Author Lisa Hochanadel's Internet business succeeds
because she understands what people want. She wants
to share with you how she has achieved her success.
For more info, and
see how Lisa can help you achieve your goals.

What works for you? Your suggestions and submissions are
gratefully accepted, and if used you will receive credit along
with a link to your web site (or e mail address if you don't
have a web site yet.)

Send submissions to

Happenings At

You can promote yourself very well by participating in the
Agents Online Real Estate Discussion Forums,
which are visited by hundreds people who are each viewing
several messages a day now looking for real estate information,
agents, and property listings! Participating in the discussion
and sharing your insights is great FREE advertising!

Tip Of The Day

  "Character is like a tree, and
   reputation like its shadow.
   The shadow is what we think of it:
   the tree is the real thing."
                        - Anonymous

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